Upper North Shore Sydney Australia

Peas

Pea – Pisum sativumSnow Pea Flowers

Pisum sativum variety. macrocarpon is commonly known as the snow pea.

Pisum sativum variety. macrocarpon ser. cv. is known as the sugar or snap pea.

Peas are an annual legume plant lasting for one year.  Legumes convert atmospheric nitrogen into nitrogenous compoundsSnow pea flowers useful to plants.  Their root nodules, containing the bacteria Rhizobium, fix free nitrogen for the plants.  Their beautiful flowers are either white or purple with darker wings and snow peas are often pink.  Pea pods can be green, yellow or purple.

Favourite Growing Conditions

Peas need a sunny spot with full sun for a minimum of six hours every day to grow verdantly, flower and fruit well.  They grow best in well-drained soil with aged compost to improve nutrition and drainage.  Check your soil acidity they prefer a slightly alkaline soil so apply a light dusting of lime to reduce soil acidity if required.  Erect your peas climbing frame before sowing seeds.
Planting

In temperate regions sow your pea seeds from February to August, when the soil temperature is above 10°C (50°F). You can soak the pods overnight prior to planting with a pinch of Epsom salts (magnesium) to encourage sprouting. Sow to a depth of 5-7cm, no deeper, and spaced 10cm apart with rows 45-90cm apart.  Peas can grow between 50cm and 2m high depending on type and must be supported.  Dwarf varieties bear good crops from 50 cm upto strong bushes 1m tall.  The vining cultivars grow thin tendrils from leaves that will coil around any available support.

Plant Care

Peas can be prone to rot in wet soil, to avoid overwatering sow into damp soil and wait until your seedlings reach 7-10cm tall before watering again.  By spacing out your plants you allow for better airflow and this reduces potential mildew problems especially during humid weather.  Watering your plants with seaweed and worm juice solutions during sunny weather improves their disease resistance.

Harvesting

Peas are protein packed legumes and when grown at home and just picked before eating taste sweet.  A few hours after picking Thanks to Nehrams2020 from Wikimedia Commons (original source)their sugars convert into starch and they lose that sweetness.  Harvest pea pods regularly, when the pod is full and before they get large and starchy and veining appears on the pods.  Remember you can eat the pea shoots and pea flowers too, they are delicious.  Leave some of the pods on the vine until they go brown and the dried peas rattle in the pod, shell and store in a dry, dark place for sowing next season.
Storage

Fresh peas in their pods can be kept in the crisper of the refrigerator for upto two weeks.  They are stored at their peak when peeled, then blanched for a minute in simmering water, cooled in the fridge and then frozen.

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